Paul Krugman had no mercy on First Daughter Ivanka Trump. Then again, why should he? She went after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez using a massive dose of ignorance that left unchallenged further erodes the ignorance of even more Americans.
Recently Fox News interviewed Ivanka. She attempted to malign the Green New Deal by attacking the job guarantee in the framework.
“I don’t think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something,” Trump told Fox News. “I have spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. People want to work for what they get. So I think this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. They want the ability to be able to secure a job. They want the ability to live in a country where there is the potential for upward mobility.”
Paul Krugman in his must-read article “Socialism and the Self-Made Woman” took exception.
O.K., this was
world-classlack of self-awareness: It doesn’t get much better than being lectured on self-reliance by an heiress whose business strategy involves trading on her father’s name. But let’s go beyond the personal here. We know a lot about upward mobility in different countries, and the facts are not what Republicans want to hear.
The key observation, based on a growing body of research, is that when it comes to upward social mobility, the U.S. is truly exceptional — that is, it performs exceptionally badly. Americans whose parents have low incomes are more likely to have low incomes themselves, and less likely to make it into the middle or upper class, than their counterparts in other advanced countries. And those who are born affluent are, correspondingly, more likely to keep their status.
Now, this isn’t the way we like to see ourselves. In fact, there’s a curious disconnect between reality and perception: Americans are much more likely than Europeans to imagine that their society is marked by high social mobility, when the reality is that we have considerably less of it than they do.
As Republicans attempt to scare Americans away from policies that benefit them by creating an irrational fear of the word socialism Krugman has a lesson they would do well to learn.\
Where do people from poor or modest backgrounds have the best chance of getting ahead? The answer is that Scandinavia leads the rankings, although Canada also does well. And here’s the thing: The Nordic countries don’t just have low inequality, they also have much bigger governments, much more extensive social safety nets, than we do. In other words, they have what Republicans denounce as “socialism” (it really isn’t, but never mind).
And the association between “socialism” and social mobility isn’t an accident. On the contrary, it’s exactly what you would expect.
Americans would do well to disregard the rhetoric coming from Republicans and start doing their own research. Most Progressives pushing critical social programs like Medicare for All, Pay-it-forward college, family leave, and student debt forgiveness understand that these policies lead to upward mobility and success and not a sense of dependency nor entitlement.